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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:06 pm 
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I am currently looking at recording equipment to record myself in order to listen to myself to get a better idea of how others perceive my playing. Does anyone else do this currently? If so, what equipment are you using?

I have a little experience in audio and video recording from a Graduate class that I took on the topic. Right now I am looking at using an SM57, an XLR-to-USB adapter, my MacBookPro, and probably a good set of Sennheiser headphones (HD 280 Pro, maybe?).

Also, because it is related and since Ben Hall reads most (all?) posts anyways: Ben can you tell me a little about what recording equipment you used in recording Tonight at Paddy Mac's? I've been able to listen to it a little bit and I enjoy the quality. One nice thing I enjoy is the left and right balance: I was using earbuds and found that I could take one ear out and just focus on one musician at a time, it was kind of fun. Other than that, it seems like you guys had a decent setup and I was curious as to what recording equipment you used.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:33 pm 
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For purposes of evaluating my own playing, my iPhone 7 works great.

My set-up for higher quality recording of wind instruments is:
Cascade Fathead II ribbon mic -> Cloudlifter CL-1 (required to privide enough clean gain for the mic) -> Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface -> MacBook Running GarageBand. Usually listen through Sony MDR-V6 studio monitor headphones.

Nothing wrong with the set-up you mention.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:44 pm 
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I use my iPhone some, but I often need my phone to be doing something else too. I’ve also thought it might be nice if I can listen to myself while playing.

Loren, your setup for higher quality recordings reminds me that I need to learn much more on the topic of microphones and accessories. Do you do much recording with that type of setup? And, how many musicians would you record at a time with that type of set up?

I also don’t know much about ribbon microphones, so I am reading up on them now...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:30 am 
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AaronFW wrote:
I am currently looking at recording equipment to record myself in order to listen to myself to get a better idea of how others perceive my playing. Does anyone else do this currently? If so, what equipment are you using?

I have a little experience in audio and video recording from a Graduate class that I took on the topic. Right now I am looking at using an SM57, an XLR-to-USB adapter, my MacBookPro, and probably a good set of Sennheiser headphones (HD 280 Pro, maybe?).

Also, because it is related and since Ben Hall reads most (all?) posts anyways: Ben can you tell me a little about what recording equipment you used in recording Tonight at Paddy Mac's? I've been able to listen to it a little bit and I enjoy the quality. One nice thing I enjoy is the left and right balance: I was using earbuds and found that I could take one ear out and just focus on one musician at a time, it was kind of fun. Other than that, it seems like you guys had a decent setup and I was curious as to what recording equipment you used.

Ah well, now, we had a professional recording engineer and LOTS of mikes, baffle boards, and stuff I didn't understand. Basically a full recording studio setup in an abandoned farmhouse in northern Italy.

One thing that I think made a big difference is that there were mikes set up to catch sound that a listener would hear, in natural circumstances, but which ordinary mortals like me wouldn't normally think of when recording. So, for instance, there was a big mike behind the back of my fiddle and also one up near the - relatively high - ceiling, to catch the sound coming up from the fiddle. I remember a mike right on the floor underneath Greg (the piper). As well as the multiple mikes on each instrument, there were a couple away from us as players, catching the ambient (have I got the meaning right?) sound in the studio.

After all of that, our engineer, Michele, is, IMO, very good indeed at mixing, the object of that being to recreate the actual sound we made in the studio.

I'm afraid I don't know what mikes Michele (appropriate name! :) ) used, although I do know that he used several different types and makes of mike.

As you can probably tell, I am a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to the equipment. I know my fiddle, I know my whistles, and I know my flute. That's as much as my brain will hold. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:10 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
As you can probably tell, I am a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to the equipment. I know my fiddle, I know my whistles, and I know my flute. That's as much as my brain will hold. :)


Oh but that is plenty. You seem to definitely know your instruments.

As for recording equipment, you don't need to know it. You definitely found the right guy for the job. I think the recording space and recording quality are all amazing. The playing from Gregorio and yourself and the recording quality make the CD a pleasure to listen to.

Thanks for giving a little detail regarding microphone placement and the logic behind it.

My knowledge of recording equipment and flute is limited. I learned about recording equipment from a class called "Audio and Video Field Methods" which was intended for anthropologists, linguists, and ethno-art-ologists (?) to do recordings for field work. As a practicum, we ended up getting permission to record a Buddhist event at a local Buddhist temple. (The program focused on all the arts and not just music; but words based on ethno-art are less familiar than "ethnomusicology".) That being said, there is a large difference between research quality and recording quality. :) Also, in research settings, the setting is often less than ideal and one cannot be as intrusive with microphones.

In regards to flute, I'm just a novice. So it has been pleasant to listen to your CD in this regard too. I probably need to keep more brain space available for flute. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:30 am 
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Thanks for your kind words on the CD, Aaron. I'm really glad you're enjoying it. :thumbsup: :)

Just to add, on the recording side of things. Throughout all of the recording sessions, Greg and I had to be in exactly the same positions, with the mikes in exactly the same positions. So, our chair legs had to go on gaffer tape markers on the floor, the mikes were kept in place, and their stands taped to the floor, and if we changed posture whilst playing, we'd have Michele telling us off!

You'd think with all of that that it might make for a slightly sterile feeling for the musicians, but it's surprising - one gets used to it very quickly and then we were able to just play. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:03 am 
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AaronFW wrote:
Right now I am looking at using an SM57, an XLR-to-USB adapter, my MacBookPro, and probably a good set of Sennheiser headphones (HD 280 Pro, maybe?).

I've recently upgraded my home set-up to an Audio-Technica AT2035 (large-diaphragm condenser) mic and Audient iD14 interface (which has top-quality mic preamps and AD/DA converters). While I particularly wanted a 'do it all' mic for all sorts of instruments, frequencies and timbres, a dynamic mic like the SM57 wouldn't be my choice for whistle and flute. It'll work, but you're probably better with a condenser (+ phantom power unless looking at the likes of the AKG C1000S, which can run off batteries).

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:06 am 
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For self recording, I use a Logitech C920 Pro webcam ($50-100 depending on when and where you get it) and OBS Studio software, and achieve these kinds of results:

tinwhistler.com/music/video/windowsills_thornton.mp4

which is good enough for me for recording for facebook, my website, or my own pleasure. I use the web cam's mic, and the built in compressor and gain tools in OBS to control clipping.

When the band I was part of in Dallas recorded our CD, we had it done at Audio Dallas recording studio, and I have no idea what their set up was. But It was certainly in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:32 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
I've recently upgraded my home set-up to an Audio-Technica AT2035 (large-diaphragm condenser) mic and Audient iD14 interface (which has top-quality mic preamps and AD/DA converters). While I particularly wanted a 'do it all' mic for all sorts of instruments, frequencies and timbres, a dynamic mic like the SM57 wouldn't be my choice for whistle and flute. It'll work, but you're probably better with a condenser (+ phantom power unless looking at the likes of the AKG C1000S, which can run off batteries).


I am primarily planning to do whistle, flute, and bodhran. So thanks for the feedback. I will look more at the setup and equipment you've described too.


Wanderer wrote:
For self recording, I use a Logitech C920 Pro webcam ($50-100 depending on when and where you get it) and OBS Studio software, and achieve these kinds of results:

tinwhistler.com/music/video/windowsills_thornton.mp4

which is good enough for me for recording for facebook, my website, or my own pleasure. I use the web cam's mic, and the built in compressor and gain tools in OBS to control clipping.

Thanks for the information.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:44 pm 
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AaronFW wrote:
I am primarily planning to do whistle, flute, and bodhran. So thanks for the feedback. I will look more at the setup and equipment you've described too.

As others have pointed out (and depending on your aims), it's not strictly necessary to have 'good'/specialist gear. I quite happily use my cameras' in-built mics for casual YouTube/Facebook videos and also have a tiny wee Korg Sound on Sound recorder I can use anywhere, but can tell you the iD14, while in some ways overkill for my needs, gives far cleaner signals with condenser mics and phantom power than the Sonar Power Studio SPS-25 it's replaced when the noise floor there quickly became unacceptable as the gain was increased. (It was OK with dynamic mics, and I've kept it in case I still need a MIDI interface.)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:36 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
AaronFW wrote:
I am primarily planning to do whistle, flute, and bodhran. So thanks for the feedback. I will look more at the setup and equipment you've described too.

As others have pointed out (and depending on your aims), it's not strictly necessary to have 'good'/specialist gear. I quite happily use my cameras' in-built mics for casual YouTube/Facebook videos and also have a tiny wee Korg Sound on Sound recorder I can use anywhere, but can tell you the iD14, while in some ways overkill for my needs, gives far cleaner signals with condenser mics and phantom power than the Sonar Power Studio SPS-25 it's replaced when the noise floor there quickly became unacceptable as the gain was increased. (It was OK with dynamic mics, and I've kept it in case I still need a MIDI interface.)


I agree that it is not strictly necessary. In addition to trying to make my own playing better, I find that recording devices are something that I enjoy playing around with and learning about.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:39 am 
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AaronFW wrote:

Loren, your setup for higher quality recordings reminds me that I need to learn much more on the topic of microphones and accessories. Do you do much recording with that type of setup? And, how many musicians would you record at a time with that type of set up?

I also don’t know much about ribbon microphones, so I am reading up on them now...



I bought the set-up I have for solo home recording, although it could be used used for a small group studio session, as I do have a couple of other mics. I needed something other than my iPhone for recording (blues) harmonica (acoustic and amplified)lesson assignments where I typically have to play to a recorded backing track, which was difficult to do with just the iPhone. Since I was buying gear, I decided to do some research and get good quality components that would allow me to have high quality sound for the future - Buy once, cry once, as they say.

I’m no recording expert, but I know people who have a lot of experience, and I did a bunch of reading. Basically, as Peter mentioned, you need a high quality interface, and also high quality cables. There are a million mic choices, and microphones can get VERY expensive, but ultimately while the mic does make a difference, software like Pro Tools is at least as important to invest in, because you can affect the sound of your recordings more with good software than a microphone, generally speaking. That said, my set-up works well and sounds quite good for harmonica, flute and whistle without needing anything other than garage band for recording, editing and mixing, but my next purchase will be Pro Tools or something similar. Unfortunately first I’ll need a new computer because my current MacBook can’t run any OSX newer than El Cap :swear: Damn technology.

Ribbon mics sound great, but as you’ve no doubt read, they are typically more expensive and somewhat fragile compared with other microphones. You also probably need to factor in the cost of a clean gain booster because the phantom power from most interfaces will not be enough to give you a strong enough signal when recording acoustic instruments. Condenser mics can be a more robust and economical way to go. Dynamic microphones can also work well for woodwinds, they can just be a little trickier with regards to positioning, depending on the sound you’re going for, but I’m sure you can good sound with your SM57.


Loren


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